In the past, the Texas Longhorns have come under criticism for a lack of social media presence to sell recruits on the program, but there is evidence of recent efforts to use more creative tactics to convince prospects that Austin is the right place to play college football.
Schools send frequent letters to top targets and have done so for years, but a simple letter expressing how much the coaching staff needs a certain player isn't enough to get a prospect's attention these days.
Not when rival Oklahoma is sending out personalized Wheaties boxes to recruits:
Best mail i ever got! pic.twitter.com/EaVdXLIKp0— Kenneth Mann (@kennx11) October 15, 2014
And not when even stodgy Michigan is creating edits that put prospects on the cover of ESPN The Magazine:
u of m cold with these edits pic.twitter.com/kNH5paw29t— Mikey (@mikeweber25) May 21, 2014
Meanwhile, Ohio State countered by putting the same recruit on the cover of Sports Illustrated:
Of course, the only two problems with those edits were that they both included misspelled words -- All-American reads All-Amercian on Michigan's effort, while Ohio State spelled delivered as deilver.
Still, despite the lack of editing on the edits, the intended effect was likely the same as it would have been otherwise.
So what is Texas doing to stay in the game?
Check out the cutouts that were sent in a mailer to Rockwall-Heath safety commit DeShon Elliott:
And here are the edits that were sent out to Aledo wide receiver Ryan Newsome, Avon (Conn.) tight end Chris Clark, and Rowlett defensive end Charles Omenihu:
Pretty sweet pic.twitter.com/fDe4b5vHl8— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) October 28, 2014
Okay Texas really doing it this pic.twitter.com/2OOy7PkWju— Charles #⃣7⃣ (@charless_94) October 28, 2014
Anyone who follows prospects on Twitter knows that when a big new offer arrives or a prospect commits, they have been taking to Twitter to request a fan edit. Now the Longhorns are stepping in and providing that service to prospects to ensure that the prospects feel wanted.
As for the cutouts, one of the best things that a prospect can say after taking a visit is that they can see themselves playing for the school. With the new cutouts, they quite literally can, long after they leave campus and the photo opportunities wearing a Texas uniform in the locker room or on the field.
The Longhorns got behind in many important recruiting trends of the last several years of the Mack Brown regime, from offering prospects after other schools to failing to develop a player personnel department in a timely manner.
New head coach Charlie Strong and his staff are still playing catch up as a result, but the cutouts and edits are a significant step in the right direction.